gricia pasta

Gricia: the pasta sauce ancestor of the Amatriciana

Gricia pasta is one of the most famous dishes of Roman cuisine and it can be considered the ancestor of amatriciana pasta. It is one of the culinary specialties of the popular Roman cuisine although its origins are not very clear. Like any dish of traditional Roman cuisine, it has undergone variations and elaborations based on the taste of the host or chef. Let’s find out more about Gricia pasta, a very tasty dish.

Gricia: a bit of history

According to some, it was born in the city of Amatrice, on the border between Lazio and Abruzzo. The basis of this idea is the use of shepherds to bring some foods with them such as lard, dry pasta, pecorino cheese and pepper. Mixed together they gave life to a dish similar to today’s gricia pasta.

According to others, however, the term gricia derives from the locality of Grisciano, near Amatrice. For others, it could derive from gricio, the retailer of bread and various foods. In fact, the griscium was in Rome the gray duster used by bakers to avoid getting dirty with flour. From there, the use of this word to indicate neglect of clothing.

Gricia: a Roman traditional dish

Amatriciana is a gricia with tomato, introduced in the kitchen in the nineteenth century. Carbonara is a gricia with egg. Cacio e pepe is a gricia without bacon. In addition to these famous dishes, there are various versions of it, based on the taste of the host.

Gricia: the recipe


400 g of pasta (preferably spaghetti)

250 g bacon

Grated Pecorino Romano


Extra virgin olive oil




Put a saucepan plenty of water and a little salt on the stove. As soon as it boils, throw the spaghetti in it.

While the pasta is cooking, start cutting the bacon into long thin strips. Take a pan and brown it with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. When the fat starts to become transparent, turn off the heat. Be careful don’t dry the fat of the guanciale out, it will be that which melts and becomes the sauce for the pasta. 

When the pasta is al dente, drain it and put it in the pan with the bacon, mix and add the pecorino and a sprinkling of pepper.

At this point the pasta is ready to be served!

Enjoy your Gricia!

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